Most of us, I bet, as teenagers, or even as adults, have had the experience of a lost love. Someone in whom we’ve invested an overdraft of our emotional reserve, of whom we just couldn’t let go. We imagined the rekindling of that romance, the fulfillment of our deepest wants. And so it is with God.
In June, I made up my mind to study the Bible again with a beginner’s mind. (Beginner’s mind is a Buddhist concept that leaves one open to learning new things, perhaps things we think we already know. It’s one of the more helpful things I learned in my spiritual wanderings. It’s a healthy mindset.)
And so, I decided to read a Psalm a day, a Chapter or so from the prophets, beginning with Isaiah, a short section from the Gospels and the Epistles. The experience, along with the compelling power of the Holy Spirit, brought me “Home” again.
Today, I want to focus on the prophets. I’ve made it up to Hosea but it hasn’t been too easy. Poor God! His chosen people were (are) so stubborn and dense.
Over and over, I read of God’s warnings, threats of gloom and doom, exile, destruction–really grim things–but his people just didn’t get it. It was dreary at times, but then, all of a sudden, God, the passionate Lover, breaks through with his proclamation of crazy love, forgiveness, pity, pleading for his people to come back to him. God never gave up. He just waited and hoped.
His chosen ones vacillated. When things got really tough, they came grovelling back. They left their idols, their “harlotry” behind and returned to the Lord. But then, when they felt satiated and secure, off they would go in search of whatever it was that attracted them to false gods. So then God would go back into a waiting, threatening, chastising mode. But, bottom line, God never quit trying, never gave up on his beloved.
This has helped me to realize that God’s love for me, for all of us, is just like his love for his chosen people of old. He is always there waiting, forgiving, welcoming–inviting us to celebrate his unending, unfaltering love.
In their affliction, they shall look for me;
“Come, let us return to the LOrd,
For it is he who has rent, but he will heal us;
He has struck us, but he will bind our wounds…
He will come to us like the rain,
like spring rain that waters the earth.
Hosea 6: 1, 3